Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming ~ Pictures + Memories of Scenic Vacation
Vacationing in the Grand Tetons
Many photos and memories of our vacation in the Grand Tetons National Park in the scenic State of Wyoming will be highlighted here.
Fortunate are the people who live in this beautiful area of our country. They get to enjoy these wide open spaces filled with breath-taking scenery on a daily basis. For the rest of us who live elsewhere, this is a destination spot that holds much allure. Visitors are welcomed in all seasons and each season has it's special tourist offerings.
There are many guest ranches (formerly called dude ranches) where one can pick up the flavor of living and working as a cowboy if one wishes. Also offered are ski resorts since this area has the requisite mountains and areas in which to practice that sport.
Hikers can be made happy as trails lead one to numerous discoveries and vary from easy walking to challenging the most athletic of participants. The lakes and rivers provide aquatic fun for people of all ages.
Bird and animal lovers can delight in spotting rather rare species, such as the trumpeter swans, as well as more commonly found ones that make this area their home.
Art lovers can enjoy an abundance of museum quality art in the Jackson Hole galleries. Comedic live theater productions keep families entertained in this western flavored town. An assortment of restaurants will tantalize the most discerning of palates.
There is literally something here for everyone!
My mother, niece and I only had two weeks in which to soak up the sounds, sights and flavors of this wonderful Wyoming destination.
We took a tour of the Tetons one of the first days after settling in to our cabin at Cross Creek Ranch. The Chapel of The Transfiguration was our first stop on this tour after traveling through part of the National Elk Refuge just outside the town of Jackson Hole.
This chapel was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It is a chapel that welcomes everyone to participate in the church services. It is constructed in log cabin fashion. The very rustic interior with pews made of quaking aspen face the large glass window at the altar which beautifully frames the majestic Tetons. Nature in all its glory is there to be seen and contemplatively enjoyed.
Our tour guide's name was Grizzly. His appearance fit his name! He was a bearded fellow and had a rotund shape such as one would think of a grizzly bear. A friendly fellow he kept us informed but also entertained with his original songs.
You can undoubtedly tell by looking at the photos that this is a one way road. Animals walk freely throughout this area and the only time that one would see a number of cars bunched up and stopped along the side of the road was when a number of elk or moose or other such animals were spotted.
Grizzly described these car and people gathering places as a "moose jam" or as an "elk jam." Whatever the appropriately spotted animal was that caused people to slow down, stop and take a better look was titled a "jam." These occasional "jams" also became great occasions to take photographs.
The speed limit on this one way road was slow. I forget the actual speed. But it allowed one to truly savor the sights without feeling rushed and the animal sightings could more easily be made.
Leigh Lake in the Grand Tetons
Leigh Lake is one of several crystal clear lakes surrounded by verdant green foliage and the splendid Teton Mountains. In this photo my niece is looking back at me while a boy is casting his fishing rod into the lake.
Grizzly arranged a boat ride on Jenny Lake and what we saw made us determined to return another day and see some of what he described on the hike that we later undertook.
Being a song writer, we encouraged him to sing more of his creations. The sound of his voice lifted in song echoed across the water and delighted us almost as much as viewing the pristine waters and breath-taking scenery.
Colter Bay Village in the Grand Tetons
Our lunch break on this tour was spent at Colter Bay Village Visitor Center.
Not only was this located in a very scenic spot in the Grand Tetons but we became more educated as to the formation of these mountains; the indigenous wildlife in the area and other details.
These photos show the beauty of the area.
Many people were enjoying themselves in many different types of boats out on Lake Jackson. It would have been fun to have had the time to rent one and go out on this lake, but time did not permit us to do that.
This was our last stop of the day on that particular tour.
The Snake River looks quiet and calm in this photo taken of the Ox-bow Bend Turnout. It was to be a bit more boisterous and challenging on the part of the river that we chose to take our whitewater rafting trip a few days later.
Horseback riding is offered at many places in the Grand Tetons National Park. One can tell from the crossing sign above that this would be a regularly followed trail.
One day my niece and I rode horseback on top of the butte overlooking Jackson Hole. At one point we were going through a beautiful grove of aspen trees. The glimpses we would get of the valley below us offered a great perspective of the area in general.
Some fellow tourists with which we had conversed had seen llamas transporting gear for avid hikers in the park.
Dornan's Chuck Wagon
In Moose, Wyoming is a place called Dornan's Chuck Wagon.
Indian tepees grace the grounds along with a good supply of hand hewed picnic tables. The grocery store offers a great variety of specialty foods and premium cheeses, coffees, fresh produce and bulk natural foods.
We purchased some delicious deli sandwiches that were so huge that we made two meals of each one of them. Picnicking on these grounds surrounded by the towering Tetons during a bright and sunny day was delightful.
At the adjacent gift shop one can rent bikes and canoes. There is a mountaineering shop and also a laundromat. Cabins can be secured and this is an excellent place to purchase necessities like gas and ice. We bought a backpack to carry our water and refreshments for the many outings that we were to enjoy.
1,500 selections of wine are offered for sale in their extensive wine shop! I purchased a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc from Stonegate for my mother and I to enjoy at the end of a day in our Cross Creek Cabin with the cool crisp mountain air outside making our blazing fire in the hearth even more inviting.
Since my husband was not with us, I purchased a souvenir t-shirt from Dornan's that said "Life is too short to drink cheap wine." Never did I expect to see such an assortment of wines in this country setting!
Taggart Lake Trailhead
Hiking along the Taggart Lake Trail we saw evidence of a fire that had passed through this area some time ago. The trees still standing looked scorched but the ground was covered with new emerging green growing seedlings and shrubs and even blooming flowers.
Many fires were raging in Yellowstone National Park in 1988. In fact at one point they had to close access to the park from the southern entrance to assure public safety.
Most all of the days we spent in the Tetons the weather was bright and sunny except for one swiftly passing storm one evening which made for a spectacular sunset.
But due to the fires and a wind shift the last day when we were scheduled to leave smoke was beginning to fill the air and we wondered if our airplane was going to be able to take off. Our other option would have been to extend the lease on our rental car and start our exodus out of the valley prior to the smoke obscuring our route out of there. It was a bit scary.
The plane did take off and all was well. After a long and protracted battle up in Yellowstone the fires were finally brought under control. Many of them were left to burn naturally and the debate continues to this day as to what is the best method to treat these naturally occurring events in our nation's national parks and other protected areas.
The water was very cool in String Lake and the bottom was extremely rocky. It hurt our feet trying to wade in barefoot.
It is a beautiful area offering a great picnic spot.
If we had had more time, we would have liked to have gone back to this area and wade into the refreshing water with sneakers on our feet.
Most all the people were wearing some type of foot protection.
Some people were rafting and obviously spending the entire day here.
This ended one day of our sightseeing in the park. That evening we dined in the town of Jackson Hole at Jedediah's Original House of Sourdough. All the dinners were full course and included soup, vegetables, fresh baked breads, salads and desserts.
I ordered a Roasted Buffalo Loaf ( "Winner of Restaurant Award of Excellence by the National Buffalo Association") It was truly tasty! Other offerings include such entrees as Rocky Mountain Spring Trout to Quail to Steaks, and even Baked Stuffed Eggplant. Portions are huge everywhere in Wyoming.....at least from our perspective.
Exploring this Gros Ventre Slide one day, it occurred to us just how rapidly geologic shifts in the earth can drastically alter a landscape. While this is perhaps not the most scenic area in the Tetons, it is interesting none-the-less.
In some cases lodge pole pine trees that had been growing in an upright position near the top of the mountain had grabbed a foothold in the debris and now survive with their trunks in an almost horizontal position with branches reaching upwards towards the sun.
It looked like a crazy topsy turvy world!
We stayed active each day enjoying different sights and having some fun. This group of photos is from various days on this trip.
There is a self guided trail that takes one to the Cunningham Cabin.
Pierce and Margaret Cunningham were one of the first families to homestead in Jackson Hole. They built a log cabin in 1890 and tried raising cattle.
Mr. Cunningham served as game warden, postmaster, justice of the peace and county commissioner while living in Jackson Hole for 40 years. They finally departed this area moving to Idaho.
During our final day we spent over two hours at the Signal Mountain boat ramp area. We actually hated to leave this gorgeous spot! The Signal Mountain Lodge and boat ramp is located on the southern end of Jackson Lake. Camping facilities are nearby and many people were enjoying themselves while doing some wind surfing.
Have you had similar experiences in this region of the United States?
I invite you to share some of your memories in the comment section below.
If you have visited The Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming, these photos should bring back some happy memories, and if not at least you have some idea of this part of our country and the scenic attractions just waiting to be discovered.
Dreaming of the Grand Tetons
Have you ever spent time in the Grand Tetons National Park?
© 2009 Peggy Woods